What is Alternative Education?

Alternative Education is designed to meet the needs of students who are not succeeding in the traditional setting. Students are provided with a variety of options that can lead to graduation and are supported by services essential to success.

While each program is unique, they share the following characteristics:

  • Maximum teacher/student ratio of 1:15
  • Must operate for a minimum of 3 hours a day (IC: 20-30-2.2)
  • Small student base
  • Clearly stated mission and discipline code
  • Caring faculty with continual staff development
  • School staff having high expectations for student achievement
  • Learning program specific to the student’s expectations and learning style
  • Flexible school schedule with community involvement and support
  • Total commitment to have each student be a success

In Indiana, the programs and models designed to meet the needs of disaffected youth are as diverse as the students themselves. Despite this diversity, however, all alternative education programs are held accountable for helping students master the Indiana Academic Standards and must comply with educational laws and rules or seek appropriate waivers.

To qualify as an alternative education program, the program must “be an educational program for eligible students that instructs the eligible students in a different manner than the manner of instruction available in a traditional school setting.”

Additional resources related to Alternative Education can be found through the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE) website.

Options Executive Team members are also active members of the National Alternative Education Association (NAEA), a 100% volunteer organization dedicated to information sharing and professional development, best practice, public policy, and advocacy for alternative learning and teaching.

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers a Distance Education program that serves students throughout Indiana. Providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1. With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002.

About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.